advice, safer space, positive space, pastoral guidelines, Teacher’s Unions, LGBTQ members, human rights, discrimination, teachers’ benefits, risk, emotions, allies, perseverance, support
Tara: What kind of advice would you give to young Catholic teachers who do feel a commitment to creating a safe and positive space for LGBTQ kids and their families, but um, don’t actually have the space quite yet?
Mary: Um, well I think that there is um, there is room for that kind of discussion even within um documents that the church and uh, other Catholic educational institutions have, have uh published. One is on, there’s pastoral guidelines for assisting kids of, of, of same-sex orientation, that kind of thing. It’s not, it’s, they’re not perfect, but they are a starting point for talking about that. I think the teacher’s unions are now starting to be much more aware of, of the needs of their LGBTQ constituents and members. Um, and uh, they all have human rights committees as well--
Mary: and a lot of what they deal with are, are these issues. I think that, within the teachers’ contracts and that kind of thing, this is going to be the next frontier that they’re going to deal with. Deal with the, they uh, discrimination that, that uh teachers who can’t declare their same sex orientation, um, and therefore can’t have their partners on, recognized on their benefits--
Mary: package and stuff like that. I think the, the, it seems like the unions, the Catholic unions, I can only speak to that, but they are starting to really recognize those kind of things, and, and taking steps for that. So, advice, um, I think people have to feel comfortable doing what they feel is right. I would never want to push anyone to do something they weren’t comfortable with. It can be very scary, I think um, you were, you were saying something to the effect, that you know, depending on the educator in the Catholic cohort class-
Mary: You know, another teacher who, who had a much more open and accepting um, views, they would have an entirely different feeling.
Mary: There are people out there who are very, very um, accepting and very positive, and are, are, at the same time are working to, to make change. Because I really do feel that it’s a human rights issue that finally I am starting to feel is really being addressed, and it’s exciting.
Tara: It is exciting.
Mary: So you know, stay the course, and you know, look, look for allies of all descriptions, and uh, keep your eyes and ears open, because there are things out there and, and they may move slowly, they may, they may not move fast enough, they may um, there may be dangerous situations that people still find themselves in. So um, but I think the unions are doing a, in particular, Toronto Secondary Union are doing some really, really great work towards addressing that. So, maybe that’s a place to start if people are not feeling secure.